June 23 – In the U.S. and around the world, free medical clinics and legal aid clinics, where university students assist the local community while learning about professional opportunities in the field, are now relatively commonplace. Google aims to add cyber security clinics to the list.
On Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged $20 million in funding to support and expand the Consortium of Cybersecurity Clinics. The goal is to provide resources for the cyber defense of government offices, rural hospitals and non-profits, while simultaneously introducing students to security careers.
“Security was critical to the work that I did early in my Google career,” said Pichai. “…including when we built our Chrome browser. Today, it’s core to everything we do, and the current inflection point in AI is helping take our efforts to the next level.”
Google’s announcement received congressional support from representatives on both sides of the aisle. At least one representative noted that addressing cyber threats is critical in terms of economic competitiveness and in terms of national security.
One popular perspective is that the initiative will help democratize cyber security, offering more opportunities to people and organizations that may be located outside of major metropolitan areas.
Change on multiple levels
Justin Steele, the director of Google.org, the company’s philanthropic unit, stated that the initiative appealed to his team because it seeks projects where funding can lead to real-world change on multiple levels.
Executive director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at U.C. Berkeley, Ann Cleaveland, said that the clinics will help organizations move past a sense of “nihilism” when it comes to contending with hackers. The clinics are intended to offer low-level solutions that can assist with a wide array of threats.
All hands on deck
Cyber security has become an ‘all hands on deck’ issue. The quantity of data at-risk is constantly increasing, and data is also seeing compromise at unprecedented rates.
The international cyber security nonprofit known as ICS2 estimates that there are approximately 500,000 vacant cyber security positions in the United States, which is a 17% jump from 2022, despite an 11% increase in entrants to the field.
At a U.S. congressional hearing this week, which took place before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, representatives from ICS2 and other cyber security organizations commented on the need for expanded cyber security training.